On a typical morning in Ms. Ingrams fifth grade classroom, students enter the classroom, log on to their laptop or learning device and head straight to Office 365. Most had edited a biography PowerPoint class assignment from home and were anxious to tweak their final product before presenting. Others checked email in Outlook for assignment updates from teachers and looked over notes in One Note for an upcoming quiz.
Student life “in the cloud” means no forgotten papers, lost homework, corrupt or washed flash drives or any one of a dozen common excuses given for not having an assignment. Soon to be unlimited storage in their OneDrive means plenty of space for all of their documents and projects.
Student work is created in Office 365 from a current Office Suite including Word, PowerPoint, Excel and One Note. Documents are automatically saved and can be accessed anywhere internet is available, 24-7. Mobile Apps found on smart devices add to the ease and ability to access and edit their work.
Having the capability to share documents allows for easy collaboration among peers or with their instructor for grading or editing comments and works well with 21st century digital learning goals. Student in our district from fourth grade to graduation have access to all of the apps available. These tools mesh perfectly with the district “Bring Your Learning Device” initiative and bridge the gap for those students who don’t own premium versions of Office on their home computers.
Office 365 also houses a full version of Microsoft Outlook with 50 GB of space allowing email communication within the closed network of the school district and full calendar functionality for planning and organizing. Our students email accounts are “in house only” giving them the opportunity to use these accounts as their professional account and giving us a great platform to teach digital responsibility skills.
Teachers enjoy the benefit of Office 365 as a one stop shop, where they can manage, communicate, share and collaborate with peers and students. The addition of tools like OneNote Notebook Creator allow teachers to create “textbooks” for each class, housing content, a collaborative component and a page for each student. Homework assignments are easily copied to student pages and completed only to have a teacher grade and comment from a single location. The addition of OneNote Staff Notebook creator really offer application for our administrators at another level. Teachers love the Excel Survey app as another tool beneficial for collecting links to assignments and assessments.
Office 365 moves the teacher and the learner beyond the walls of the classroom, anytime, anywhere. Creating mobile learners with access to educational tools and preparing them for success in all types of environments.